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No Win2K Support for KMDF?

They're removing Win2K support from KMDF. But there's a good chance that you can help get this decision reversed. Read on for more details.

One of the key, fundamental, precepts of the Windows Driver Foundation (WDF) Kernel Mode Driver Framework (KMDF) has been single executable driver compatibility from Windows 2000 through Windows Vista. Members of the driver development community were vociferous about this requirement in their very first discussions with the development team when KMDF was just a concept.

And, to their credit, the Microsoft developers heard the community and delivered a fully backwards-compatible KMDF through beta test and release candidate stages. Achieving this backward compatibility wasn't easy, but the devs did the extra work required because they knew it had to be done.

Now, on the eve of the release of KMDF V1.0, it seems that some pendejo in the myriad layers of Microsoft management has decided that supporting KMDF on Win2K doesn't fit with established Microsoft policy.

The result?? Win2K support has been dropped from KMDF V1.0  And, as if this isn't bad enough, the KMDF Coinstaller has been changed to actively prevent installing KMDF drivers on a Win2K system.

Dropping Win2K support from KMDF will just help the Microsoft haters serve up a big, fat, helping of "I told you that Microsoft doesn't care about us or what we think" to those of us who've been enthusiastic supporters of KMDF.

My sources tell me it's almost certainly too late to get this decision reversed for V1.0 -- But that there's a real chance to get this decision changed for KMDF V1.1 that will be released in the Vista WDK. If you want Win2K support re-enabled for KMDF, you must email Microsoft and tell them that Win2K support is critical to your business needs. Send your comments to kmdffdbk@microsoft.com and put the words "Windows 2000" in the subject.

We can get this decision changed, but every single dev in the community is going to have to raise their voices. C'mon, send an email now!

Update (14 February 2006): Due to community feedback, Microsoft has reversed their decision and agreed to include KMDF support in the next release of KMDF! See the news article on OSR Online.

User Comments
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"Good reason to stay with WDM"
Since we develop still drivers for Win98 because there is a market we see no real need to go to the next driver model for a new OS

30-Nov-05, Willy Platzer

"Windows XP"
I would not be suprised if WDF will work only with Windows Vista and later because Windows XP will enter Extended Support phase at January 1, 2007.

30-Nov-05, Yuhong Bao

"Windows 2000"
Windows 2000 is in Extended Support Phase currently, so I am OK and I wasn't suprised

30-Nov-05, Yuhong Bao

"Not Surprised Just Disgusted"
I would be OK with it if they would have said no Win2K support from the beginning. What I object to is broken promises and the complete disregard for living up to commitments. I'm sure many of you, like myself, made business plans based on things Microsoft said at Driver DevCon. If they are not going to deliver on promises, then why bother making promises? And why should I bother with the expense of time and money on conferences like WinHEC and DevCon when all information is apparently subject to change at Microsoft's whim at the very last second? I'm probably overreacting just a bit, but they really struck a nerve on this one.

30-Nov-05, Mike Yoke

"Par for Microsoft"
I'm surprised that anyone is surprised. Windows 2000 introduced functionality that far surpassed Windows NT 4 and that helped make W2K widely used. A lot of Microsoft's work after W2K seems to have been focused on supporting other objectives ("useability", DRM, etc.), that do not provide the same kind of killer-reason to keep upgrading the OS. This means a loss of potential upgrade revenue to Microsoft, and a reduction in the marketability of its DRM efforts.

With Vista Microsoft seems to want to shoehorn everyone into the new OS as quickly as possible, and it's only natural that this might not sit well with users who perceive (arguably very justifiably so) that they might be paying more for less. This means that to boost Vista's acceptance, Microsoft needs to "encourage" the transition. One of the easiest way to do that (without raising the spectre of another federal agency paying attention to them) is to require drivers to support KMDF to get the Vista logo for a new PC, penalize a system maker if they don't have the Vista logo, and then finally to make KMDF not work with W2K. This will reduce the support for W2K, and reduce non-Vista PC offerings.

Oh well. This is one of the downsides of dealing with a monopoly. To be fair, though, let's not forget that one of the upsides is that we do have a relatively uniform environment in which to develop applications and solutions, rather than having to recreate the same wheel in 20 different flavors.

30-Nov-05, Aki Korhonen

"Some words to "Microsoft haters""
I think that reputable developers don't hate Microsoft or Windows. When somebody assesses Microsoft or it's products as not so good I assume that is based on experiences with it. So I think "Microsoft haters" is a misplaced comment which should not occur in qualified discussions.

I'm a passionate software developer. I love easy designs, readable and maintainable, as well as platform independent code. I'm developing on Windows for many years now, but as soon as you get in touch with code, or software from Microsoft mostly you will miss those features. Sometimes I feel that Microsoft intentionally tries to make it as difficult as possible to develop software. Information is only sparse available. Mostly you must buy all you need for development, e.g. IDE, DDK, IFS, etc.. In most cases theres no compliance with established standrads and software like GNU.

Since two years I do my development on Linux machines. Prior to that I was an advocate of Microsoft. Because I only knew Microsoft very well. Now my opinion has changed. Just speaking as a developer, using Linux machines for development you have much less trouble, much more support (tools, documentation, open source, howtos and infrastructure) than on windows machines. Now I do all my development work on Linux and I only change to Windows if it's necessary to re-compile for that target.

To conclude: If somebody talks about "Microsoft haters" I assume he only knows Microsoft.

30-Nov-05, Mike Werner

"No Win2K Support for KMDF?"
I can hardly bear the thought of writing another line of Windows device driver code. How can Microsoft possibly justify this betrayal? If they have already done the work, why don't they just ship it? How can we ever believe another word they say to us when at the last second they can just change their minds and completely bail on commitments? Microsoft has definitely jumped the shark.

29-Nov-05, Mike Yoke

"AssetMetrix W2K study URL correction"
Sorry, the URL should have been


My apologies.

29-Nov-05, David Bradsher

"Windows 2000 non-KmDF"
This is a colossal mistake. We live in the world were reality is fact, not the make believe world of what would be ideal. We are required to support our customer base irregardless of how imperfect that may seem. This is why we still find ourselves providing support for Windows NT drivers, albeit that demand is dwindling, and will also be required to provide support for Windows 2000 for the foreseeable future.

The decision to drop this backward compatibility in KMDF is obviously not one which considers the complication those of us in the driver development community must face. Furthermore, it greatly weakens any impetus to move from the WDM model to the KMDF model because of the increased demand it will place upon development and continuation support. I would consider this hardly a decision aimed at gaining the trust and support of those in the field. Sadly, this continued arrogance may ultimately result in an increased migration to other operating system environments, such as Linux, where end users are treated not as mushrooms to be shoveled upon, but as peers to be consulted and elicited for cooperation.

29-Nov-05, Delmont Fredricks

"Win2K base"
Several developers in other newsgroups have already cited the AssetMetrix study showing that Win2K is alive & well with nearly a 50% installed base. Here is the URL for reference:


29-Nov-05, David Bradsher

"Just company policy"
It has always been MS policy to cut off support for current technologies in legacy systems. For example, there was never a usable USB support in Win95, no USB 2.0 support in Win98/ME, no NDIS 5.1 (and WLAN) support in Win98/ME/2K, although backporting the drivers would have been easy. So I'm not surprised at this decision. It just tells me to stick with WDM, KMDF is too late anyway. We have already spent 5 years in creating skeletons for WDM function and bus drivers. This is done now. No need for KMDF...

29-Nov-05, Udo Eberhardt

"right hand left hand"
Win2K is the most reliable/stable OS by their own admission. But then I suppose right hand does'nt know what the left hand is doing.

28-Nov-05, kalpak dabir

"WDF ..."
No support for Win2K? So, I tell my clients that all of a sudden I can't write drivers to support their hardware on Win2K boxes?

Or, I use something like DriverStudio or Jungo and keep everyone happy. I had looked forward to evaluating WDF as a replacement for those products (which I use currently as skeletons for new client drivers) but that's not 'gonna happen if I can't support Win2K ...

Sorry, MS. Not supporting legacy didn't work out well for Borland with OWL, won't work out well for MS with WDM ...

28-Nov-05, craig howard

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